Watsonians became the latest victims of a clinical Melrose outfit when the Capital side succumbed 32-12 in their BT Premiership encounter at Myreside last night.
While there was plenty of character in the home ranks, and coach Steve Lawrie could point to a gutsy second-half effort, ultimately the visitors’ ruthless edge offered Sonians an insight into how much further they still have to go before they can hope to be involved at the business end of the season.
Lawrie had warned his players that a top level performance for the full 80 minutes was essential if they were to take anything from the unbeaten pacesetters who went into the encounter having reached the halfway point in the league programme with nine successive bonus-point wins.
The good form Sonians had shown in securing back-to-back wins during the previous two weekends was evident as the hosts made a blistering but fruitless start, stretching the Melrose defence without managing to unlock it.
There were almost ten minutes on the clock before the Borderers had their first visit to the opposition half. But, they wasted little time in applying pressure and opened the scoring with a penalty by Craig Jackson. And the gap grew in 18 minutes when Fraser Thomson forced his way over for the opening try.
The hosts continued to battle gamely but had no answer to the all round power of the league leaders who bagged quick tries through Iain Moody and Thomson, the first of which was converted by Jackson.
And the unrelenting visitors snapped up the bonus-point try in 33 minutes when Nyle Godsmark freed Sam Pecqueur and the winger blazed over to leave Melrose 25-0 ahead at the interval.
As they had done in the first period, the hosts made a lively start to the second half but a lack of composure within sight of the line and a watertight Melrose defence meant that ten minutes of pressure brought no reward.
Then, having a survived another bout of Melrose pressure, Sonians earned reward for their efforts when Nathan Borel crashed over and Andrew Chalmers converted.
The hosts took heart from that and although Thomson darted in for a third time and Jackson converted, Sonians had the last word when Ali Harris dotted down in injury time.
Watsonians: A Chalmers; J Harries, R Hutton, D Innes, A Davidson; E Fox, A Harris; N Fraser, R Graham, K Whyte, J Hodgson, C Borthwick, R Drummond, J Miller, E Dods. Subs: S Crombie, N Borel, M Fedo, W Thomson, J Harrison.
Melrose: F Thomson; R McCann, N Godsmark, C Jackson, S Pecqueur; J Baggott, M McAndrew; G Shiels, R Anderson, N Beavon, I Moody, J Head, N Irvine-Hess, G Runciman, A Miller. Subs: R Ferguson, R McLeod, A Runciman, B Colvine, G Taylor.
Watsonians: Tries: Borel, Harris Con: Chalmers
Melrose: Tries: Thomson (3), Moody, Pecqueur, Cons: Jackson (2), Pen: Jackson
Referee: B Blain